Comic-Con: Marvel Studios

Marvel kicked off their “Iron Man 3” presentation with updates on a bunch of other films that constitute their so-called “Phase Two”, the second stage of their ambitious film plans. They certainly knew how to milk this crowd too, playing a showreel of each previous Comic Con panel highlights leading up to today.

Then came some name announcements with the various upcoming sequels ditching the numbers. Marvel’s slate is now as follows: “Iron Man 3” (May 3rd 2013), “Thor: The Dark World” (Nov 8th 2013), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Apr 4th 2014), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Aug 1st 2014). “Ant-Man” and “The Avengers 2” aren’t yet official but look quite possible for 2015. Team members on ‘Guardians’ will include Drax, Gamorra, Groot, Rocket Raccoon and Star Lord.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright then took the stage for “Ant-Man” and screened unfinished test footage of the character, dressed in red-and-black (a Silver Age and contemporary mix apparently), who can change sizes in combat. Wright uses the line “he will kick your ass one inch at a time” and says no casting news as yet but “Ant-Man has been here all day”.

Robert Downey Jr. then killed his entrance, right from the back of Hall H dancing down the aisle ahead of the first footage from the third “Iron Man” which confirms that Ben Kingsley is indeed playing the Mandarin complete with beard, rings and cloak. Consdering they’ve only shot about half the film, the footage so far is impressive including Stark’s house being destroyed by missiles (along with his old armour).

Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau and Shane Black soon joined Downey, Black saying “We’re halfway through. If we don’t fuck up the rest, it’ll be great.” Black also took a mild swipe at the third “Spider-Man” in the process, saying their entry is much more cohesive rather than a cluster of separate elements. The storyline has Downey “hitting rock bottom” and coming back, but they are NOT doing the “Demon in the Bottle” storyline at all – in fact it sounds unlikely that will even come up in future “Iron Man” outings.

Downey confirms no Bruce Banner in this film, and he’s not sure what’ll happen with him playing Tony Stark in the future as “Iron Man 3” is the last film in both his and Jon Favreau’s deal with Marvel and they’ll negotiate what happens after that. Downey then got the entire crowd to sing Happy Birthday to a 15-year-old girl, and the footage was played again.